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  B-25C "El Aguila" Serial Number 41-12515  
5th AF
3rd BG
90th BS

Former Assignments
13th BS

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13th BS c1942

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Joseph Masiero 1942
Pilot  Major Brooks Rives, Jr., O-420677 8th Radar Calibration Det (MIA / KIA) Louisville, MS
Co-Pilot 1st Lt Wayne B. Howard, O-663733 49th FG (MIA / KIA) Nash, OK
Passenger  Major LeRoy H. Richardson, O-461607 475th FG HQ (MIA / KIA) Savannah, GA
Passenger  Major Eugene G. Robinson, O-403313 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Burnett, MN
Passenger  1st Lt George Shatzman, O-560332 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Chelsea, MA
Passenger  S/Sgt Joel N. Whitten 18061707 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Houston, TX
Passenger  S/Sgt Lee S. Kercheval, 20825275 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Ordway, CO
Crew Chief  S/Sgt Francis H. Stoeber, 17018035 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Cando, ND
Passenger  Sgt Weaver L. Thomas, 18030741 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Longansport, LA
Passenger  Cpl Myron G. Nolin, 37321837 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Fargo, ND
Passenger  Cpl Stanley McCloskey, 33286054 5th FC HQ (MIA / KIA) Washington, PA
MIA  August 30, 1944
MACR  8805

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. Constructors Number 82-5150. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C Mitchell 41-12515. Purchased by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) and ferried to Australia.

Wartime History
In Australia, retained by U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "El Aguila" with the nose art of an eagle. Later, transferred to the 90th Bombardment Squadron. When lost, engines R-2600-13 serial numbers 41-28597 and 42-76890.

Malcolm C. Sponenbergh adds:
"I had flown to Sydney August 1, 1944 with several fighter pilots aboard to pick up P-40s from the RAAF at Wagga-Wagga, NSW. On last flight from Wagga Wagga # 2 engine seemed to not be operating properly. Three weeks were spent in maintenance trying to fix the engine, several test flights did not correct to my satisfaction. Finally the base flight test pilot flew it okay-ed it and inferred that they would do nothing further. I departed the next day, the engine still didn't satisfy me but I got back to Nadzab Airfield on August 29, wrote up need for maintenance in the Form 1. However, the aircraft was needed to transport personnel to Owi Airfield. Since I had orders for return to the states and was grounded, another pilot took the flight. When I left Nadzab September 4, the aircraft was still missing and I never learned the fate of the aircraft, passengers or my crew. I fear that engine finally gave up."

Mission History
On August 30, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by Major Brooks Rives, Jr. on a flight bound for Owi Airfield. This B-25 went missing en route and the entire crew was declared Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, crashed in mangrove swamp near Pol River (Poi River) in western New Guinea (Papua Province).

Postwar, this crash site was located by American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) and recovered the remains of the crew.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the entire crew was transported to the United States for permanent burial.

On February 21, 1950, the entire crew were buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a group burial section 78 at sites 996-999.

Shatzman was individually identified and is buried at Liberty Progressive Cemetery in Everett, MA at lot 49, grave 5.

During November 1980, Stoeber's dog tag was found near 7-Mile Drome at Port Moresby by Bruce Hoy. Likely, his dog tag was dropped or disposed after he went missing.

Note: Other sources incorrectly list this B-25 as MIA September 6, 1944
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C Mitchell 41-12515
"12515 (MSN 82-5150) to Netherland East Indies AF as N5-158 Feb 27, 1942. Ferried to Australia, but returned to USAAF as 41-12515. MIA Sep 6, 1944. MACR 8805"
History of 5th Fighter Command, microfilm A07497 lists personnel details
Missing Air Crew Report 8805 (MACR 8805) created September 15, 1944
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-12515
CILHI List, page 16
The New Yorker, May 19, 1986 page 82 article about Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI) mentions El Aguila (41-12515).  Mentions that this B-25 went missing in the vicinity of the Poi River in western New Guinea (now West Irian) en route from Nadzab to Owi Island.
FindAGrave - Brooks Rives, Jr (group burial photo)
FindAGrvave - Wayne Boyd Howard (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Leroy H Richardson (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Capt George Shatzman
FindAGrave - Joel N Whitten (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Lee S Kercheval (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Francis H Stoeber (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Weaver L Thomas (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Myron G Nolin (group burial photo)
FindAGrave - Stanley Mccloskey (group burial photo)

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Last Updated
July 2, 2021


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